Five Things Thankful

It has been a couple of weeks since I posted five things for which I am currently thankful.  That is a bit of a problem, because now I am having a little trouble narrowing things down.  In an attempt to prevent the complete and total boredom of our readers, though, I will keep the list to five.  So here is another edition of the highlights from our life.

Because good news is good for all of us…

1.  We caught up with one of our foster children from a long time ago.

Last year around this time, I shared a post about the joys of foster care and special needs adoption.  Since becoming licensed foster parents in 2009, we have been matched over thirty times with youth from our community.

We have welcomed children who arrived with only the diapers on their behinds.  We have picked up traumatized children from a hospital emergency room.  We provided temporary relief care for foster parents who needed a break for a few days or weeks.  We served some youth who never lived in our home through a mentorship program.

FF feat

And then there are the special few that stayed with us for quite a long time.  We got to know them well, and they certainly got to know us.  Of all the youth we have served, a handful of them bonded with our family in a way that is permanent and lasting.  One of them is part of our forever family.  The others are with biological family members or were adopted by someone else.

A few days ago, we were able to reconnect with a very special kid from our past that we have not seen in a long while.  And it was really awesome.  I truly wish privacy laws did not prevent me from sharing pictures and some information about that youth.  Because I really want to.  But let me say this: we had the privilege of mentoring, parenting, and loving a young person a while back that today makes us really proud.

There are many stories in this world of children who overcame nearly insurmountable obstacles to do great things with their lives.  It is an honor to know that our family played a very small part in helping that happen for one person.

2.  I voted with my girls.

Our family takes voting very seriously.  We educate ourselves.  We learn about platforms, positions, and candidates.  And then when the time comes, we cast our ballots.

I cannot remember the last time I went to the polls without at least one of my children in tow.  The Nineteenth Amendment, granting women the right to vote, came about only through the Herculean efforts of countless women from generations ago.  My right to cast a ballot is a duty, a privilege, and an honor.

It is my responsibility to ensure that all of my daughters understand and respect this fact so that someday they too will freely exercise their right to vote.  So when I vote, they do too.

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Our youngest daughter also went to the polls with Todd.  While there, she created her own ballot.  And proceeded to vote for her older sister, Natalie.

3.  The hamster lives to see another day.

Hamsters can be some of the easiest pets on the planet.  They stay in their cages (meaning no accidents on the carpet, no stolen socks, and no muddy paw prints on the floor).  They are relatively quiet.  They do not eat much.

Our family has owned several hamsters.  We take good care of them, but we have found out through a few unfortunate mishaps that hamsters are a little…well…sensitive.  They can overeat without realizing it will lead to their demise.  The little rodents can become dehydrated very quickly.  Sometimes hamsters will hibernate and never wake up.

Cute, but loud

Our current fuzzy friend, Professor Ham, could not open one of his eyes this weekend.  He also reduced his food and water consumption by quite a bit.  That made some humans in our home a little worried.  Thankfully Dr. Google helped us out, and with a Q-tip soaked in warm water we got the eye up and running again.  Todd basically bottle-fed the hamster some water for a while, and now the little guy seems to be eating and drinking normally.

For now, we can stop funeral preparations for another hamster.

4.  Todd made waffles.

Unfortunately, I could not eat the waffles.  But I really appreciate that he made waffles anyway.  Waffles are good, but they are complicated and time consuming to make.  They happen to be one of the few foods that my kids request with regularity that I try at all costs to avoid making.

Saturday morning pancakes

This weekend one of the girls had a sleepover, though, and she wanted waffles.  I relented and agreed.  But then Todd stepped in and made them for me at the last minute.  While I joyfully stuck to tasks like scrambled eggs and homemade whipped cream, he fought with the waffles.

Because he is great like that.

5.  We continue to release commitments from the schedule.

Our family used to have a chronic over-busy schedule.  Last spring, Todd and I made a list of all our activities and commitments to see where we could make some changes.  Upon looking at the list, we determined there were ten items that needed to go.  Some of those things were easy to release.  Others were more difficult.

Deciding not to do physical education classes at the public school anymore?  That was pretty easy.  Saying goodbye to the Awana program we knew and loved for eight years?  That was hard.

Of the ten items we identified, eight have now been officially released.  It feels great.  One item on the list is more of a long-term commitment, so that will stick around for a few more months.  The final activity will disappear eventually, but thus far has not been a horrible inconvenience.

I am so grateful for more free time, breathing room, and margin in my schedule.

We survived fall.  Winter is almost here.  The last few weeks have had some wonderful moments.  And life is good.